Skill acquisition and representative task design
Egon Brunswik’s (1956) insights have revealed that representative task design is a key concept in understanding the organization of task constraints in experiments, evaluation tests and learning programmes in sport. Representative design implies that these environments need to be predicated on key information sources found in specific performance contexts. Although Brunswik’s ideas have, until now, failed to be fully appreciated in a wide range of experimental and behavioural sciences, many of the concepts have begun to be accepted in the study of complex systems in sport (Araújo and Davids 2009; Beek et al. 2003; Davids 2008; Dicks et al. 2008; Fajen et al. 2009; Pinder et al. 2011b,c). Here, we discuss the ideas of representative task design and examine its implications for constructing experimental and learning environments in sport. We provide principles for sport scientists, experimental psychologists and pedagogues to recognize the potential application and adaptation of Brunswik’s original concepts, with examples from various sports to demonstrate how the model can be applied in practice. We also discuss the role of representative design in supporting the psychology of learning and creating holistic learning environments for learners as complex systems, in addition to considering the integrated emotional engagement of participants for the enhancement of learning and practice task design.